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How to Fix a Leaky Shower Head?

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Head?
Last Updated: 03 August 2019

A leaky shower head is not only irritating; it can be expensive too. Because they’re confined behind a glass partition or a curtain, sometimes these leaks can go undetected. Did you know that a leaking shower head and faucet is the second biggest cause of brine wastage second only to continuously running toilet?

And if your leak is on the hot water side of this valve, it will make your water heater work continuously to produce hot brine. Both can result in a significant increase in your utility bills. What is even more damaging that’s if a dripping shower head is left to leak into this inside of your wall, it can cause mold, rot, and structural problems that will be costly to repair.

What Causes the Shower Head to Leak?

If you see that your shower head is old and rusty or falling apart, it needs replacement. But if that shower head is in good condition, but it’s still leaking, you don’t have to replace them right away. There are simple ways to fix them.

If your water is dripping or drizzling from this showerhead, that most likely culprit’s problem with your shower valve. This most common reason is these inner seals. Through time these seals become worn, corroded or clogged with deposits of hard water. Another reason could be these gaskets and O-rings that serve as a seal to connect some moving metal parts that are worn out. It allows your water to squirt or drip.

Another common reason for these leaks in that shower head is the clogging of holes with lime residues and other minerals. You don’t have to dismantle that entire head; you can simply check these holes first and remove these clogs if there is any.

How to Examine the Leak in the Shower Head?

The water that goes to your shower head comes from your faucet that’s probably located in the wall just below it. That brine pressure is redirected from that faucet in your tub to your shower with a diverter valve. It’s a lever located close to that faucet. These leaks in your showerhead may be a combination of other features in the shower and not from showerhead alone.

If your showerhead is constantly leaking even if your shower faucet is turned off, you need a shower faucet repair. Depending on how long this leak has been going on, it might also involve your showerhead.

We can conclude that this showerhead is the only problem if it continues to drip even if your shower faucet is turned off.

There are four ways to fix your leaky shower, and it goes beyond merely addressing this issue with your showerhead. It may require repairs on these one or more parts that composed your shower system. Here they’re:

  • Clearing your showerhead
  • Replacing these worn washers
  • Replacement of this diverter valve
  • Fixing your cartridge valve

Clearing the Clogs in the Shower Head

One clear indication that your shower head is clogged with lime deposits and minerals is when you turn off the shower and yet water is still dripping. Over time, lime and other metals can accumulate in your showerhead. When this happened, tends to hold water that it cannot drain quickly. Consequently, you will also experience a weaker flow of water from your shower. Here is what you should do:

  • Turn off the water supply and remove your shower. You can unscrew that head from a pipe and turn this head.
  • Check these holes in your shower. If it appears to be congested with white minerals, you can soak this showerhead in a solution to dissolve all crystals.
  • One of these most accessible soaking solutions is white vinegar. Soak your showerhead for six to eight hours.
  • Remove all deposits in these holes using a pin or a toothpick, and using a stiff brush, clean your faceplate thoroughly. This remaining debris will be flushed when you turn on your shower later.

Replacing the Worn Washers

The second common cause of a leaking shower faucet is worn washers. It develops cracks and will let brine to seep in and drizzle when it should not. Thus, you need to replace these washers to stop these leaks in your shower. Here is how to do it.

  • Turn off your valve of this showerhead.
  • Dismantle your showerhead by loosening this collar nut that’s attached to your shower arm.
  • The rubber washer is located on top of your showerhead just beneath this swivel ball. Once you have seen them, remove it and replace it with a one.
  • After putting that rubber washer properly in place, assemble your showerhead. You can make that rubber seal tighter by wrapping plumber tape around these threads.
  • Turn your water on and see what happens.

Replacing the Malfunctioning Diverter Valve

The third common cause of shower leaks is a malfunctioning diverter valve. That’s just a fancy name for the lever that switches the direction of the water to your shower. The diverter valve can experience wear and tear too and sometimes build-up of sediments. To replace them, follow these steps.

For a knob or lever style:

  • Remove the handle of the faucet and disassemble the valve assembly. Once you have located the diverter valve check them.
  • If the diverter valve is positive for wear and tear, replace them. If there is no sign of wear, soak them in white vinegar to remove the deposits.

For diverter located in the faucet:

  • You have to remove that plate located under the faucet and take out the diverter valve. Inspect it for wear and replace them

Replacing a Problematic Cartridge Valve

The cartridge valve is located in that single-arm handle that switches the water from hot or cold. It’s also responsible for triggering water flow. If you have a tub spout leaking even if the water is off, you have a problem. There are many types of water handles, but these are some essential steps in fixing them.

  • Remove that handle of the faucet to locate the cartridge stem.
  • Replace this cartridge with a new one. Remember, this cartridge is irreparable. It always needs to be replaced with a new set.


In most cases, thorough cleaning of the showerhead and replacement of these washers or O-rings are enough to fix a leaky shower faucet. These solutions are not expensive and easy to do. However, if you want to be 100% sure, you can call a professional plumber to repair them and find out that real issue behind the leaks.

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